Command line printer control in Windows XP / 2000

Many, but not all, printer settings can be done from Windows 2000’s command line using PRINTUI.DLL and RUNDLL32.EXE.

The list of functions on this page was generated using the following command in Windows 2000 (Professional):


Note: I certainly did not test each of these switches myself!
To be honest, I usually prefer to use the (VBScript) printer management scripts that come with Windows 2000 and later (%windir%\System32\*prn*.vbs).

More information is available at Microsoft’s TechNet under Q189105.

Download Microsoft’s PrintUI.DLL User’s Guide and Reference for more detailed, task oriented explanations of command line options.


RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry [ options ] [ @commandfile ]

binary file name
base printer name
unc machine name if the action is on a remote machine
delete local printer
delete network printer connection
delete printer driver
display printing preferences
either inf file or output file
add per machine printer connections
enum per machine printer connections
delete per machine printer connections
driver architecture, one of the following:
Alpha | Intel | Mips | PowerPC
install printer driver using inf file
install printer driver using add printer driver wizard
install printer using inf file
install printer using add printer wizard with an inf file
install printer using add printer wizard
add network printer connection
print provider name
print test page to specified printer, cannot be combined with command when installing a printer
printer driver source path
printer driver model name
printer name
display printer queue view
display printer properties
quiet mode, do not display error messages
port name
display server properties
Store printer settings into a file

Restore printer settings from a file

Store or restore printer settings option flags that must be placed at the end of command:

c Color Profile
d PrinterData
s Security descriptor
g Global DevMode
m Minimal settings
u User DevMode
r Resolve name conflicts
f Force name
p Resolve port

use the existing printer driver if it’s already installed
zero based index page to start on
driver version, one of the following:
Windows 95 or 98 | Windows NT 3.1 | Windows NT 3.5 or 3.51 | Windows NT 3.51 | Windows NT 4.0 | Windows NT 4.0 or 2000 | Windows 2000
prompt the user for a driver if specified driver is not found in the inf
set printer as the default
get printer settings
set printer settings
do not auto share this printer
share this printer, can only be used with the /if option
help this message
command line argument file


Run server properties:
RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry /s /t1 /n\\machine
Run printer properties
RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry /p /n\\machine\printer
Run add printer wizard localy
Run add printer wizard on \\machine
RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry /il /c\\machine
Run queue view
RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry /o /n\\machine\printer
Run inf install
RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry /if /b “Test Printer” /f %windir%\inf\ntprint.inf /r “lpt1:” /m “AGFA-AccuSet v52.3″
Run add printer wizard using inf
RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry /ii /f %windir%\inf\ntprint.inf
Add per machine printer connection
RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry /ga /c\\machine /n\\machine\printer /j”LanMan Print Services”
Delete per machine printer connection
RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry /gd /c\\machine /n\\machine\printer
Enumerate per machine printer connections
RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry /ge /c\\machine
Add printer driver using inf
RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry /ia /c\\machine /m “AGFA-AccuSet v52.3” /h “Intel” /v “Windows 2000” /f %windir%\inf\ntprint.inf
Remove printer driver
RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry /dd /c\\machine /m “AGFA-AccuSet v52.3” /h “Intel” /v “Windows 2000”
Set printer as default
RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry /y /n “printer”
Set printer comment
RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry /Xs /n “printer” comment “My Cool Printer”
Set printer port
RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry /Xs /n “printer” PortName “port:”
Get printer settings
RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry /Xg /n “printer”
Get printer settings saving results in a file
RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry /f “results.txt” /Xg /n “printer”
Set printer settings command usage
RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry /Xs /n “printer” ?
Store all printer settings into a file
RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry /Ss /n “printer” /a “file.dat”
Restore all printer settings from a file
RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUI /Sr /n “printer” /a “file.dat”
Store printer information on level 2 into a file
RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry /Ss /n “printer” /a “file.dat” 2
Restore from a file printer security descriptor
RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry /Sr /n “printer” /a “file.dat” s
Restore from a file printer global devmode and printer data
RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry /Sr /n “printer” /a “file.dat” g d
Restore from a file minimum settings and resolve port name
RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry /Sr /n “printer” /a “file.dat” m p

More to explore:

Microsoft Knowledge Base articles:
How to add printers with no user interaction in Windows XP and
How to add printers with no user interaction in Windows (2000/2003).

How to print files from the command line (or batch files).

A tip from Iain Hamilton:

I found this excellent page that gives a LOT of
additional functionality to the rundll command (it’s near the bottom of
the page).

For example, there are commands for:

  • changing the sharename for the printer
  • switching the share on/off
  • adding comments and location fields to the printer!

Also, I might add: when you’re using the /Z switch to auto-share a printer,
it truncates the name to 8 characters. By using the syntax included on this
webpage, you can change the share to be longer than 8. This command is
especially useful, since it’s cluster-aware.

Iain Hamilton

Thanks Iain

More RUNDLL and RUNDLL32 commands can be found on my RUNDLL page.

An overview of

Registry Entries for Printing by Microsoft.

If RUNDLL32 just won’t do the job:

Sometimes we need to do just alittle more than RUNDLL32 is capable of,
like installing a TCP/IP printer port.

In that case, consider buying yourself a copy of the
Windows 2000 Server/Windows Server 2003
Resource Kit
and use PRNADMIN.DLL and the accompanying sample
scripts written in VBScript.

My own AddIPPrn.bat
uses these VBScripts to install a printer, its driver and a TCP/IP printer
port on a remote computer.

If all you need is to backup/restore, clone or migrate existing printers:

Often the printer configurations of existing computers need to be
cloned to other computers, or restored after reinstalling Windows.

In those cases, a backup/export and restore/import with Microsoft’s
PrintMig 3.1 may be the best (and easiest) solution.

Though earlier versions of PrintMig were GUI only, version 3.1 can also be
run without user interaction from the command line or in a batch file:

Microsoft (R) Windows (TM) Printer Migrator 3.1
Copyright (C) 1997-2002 Microsoft Corp. All rights reserved

usage: PRINTMIG [options] [server]
       [-?] Display this message
       [-b] Backup - followed by CAB file name
       [-r] Restore - followed by CAB file name
       [-l] Attempt to convert LPR Ports to SPM
       [-i] Suppress warning popups.  Info still written to log file.

If server is not specified then the local machine is implied.

Example command line to restore an existing config to a server:
  printmig -r d:\print\ \\prt-srvr1

Example command line to backup a server to the specified file:
  printmig -b "\\filesrv\store\print server" \\prt-srvr2

Related Stuff

  • Print files

    Print files using their registered print commands

  • Command Line Switches
    Print (or open, convert, etc.) files using third party viewers/editors and their command line switches

Posted on 09/04/2009, in Scripting. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: